I read Shadowland for my Trick or Treat square on Halloween Bingo. Normally, the Young Adult books I read are Science Fiction but I thought this would be a better fit for Halloween Bingo.
I’d heard about Meg Cabot, mainly for her Princess Diaries but I’d never read one of her books before. She delivered a light, entertaining Young Adult tale about a teenager who can talk to the dead.
It’s the start of a series so it had a Season 1, Episode 1 feel to it but it did deliver a complete story in which, in addition to learning about our heroine’s backstory (lives all her life in NYC, has seen ghosts forever, doesn’t want to end up in a psych ward, moved to Carmel when her mother remarried), current challenges (living in California – why no Mass Transit?, attending a new posh school, having a dead guy in haunting her bedroom and having three new step-brothers) and general attitude to life (mostly positive and tolerant but very committed to performing her role as a ‘mediator’ helping ghosts to move on- whether they want to or not), we see a dangerous ghost being bested.
Most of the mileage came from our heroine’s move to Carmel from NYC but there was also a baddy worthy of a Buffy Season 1 episode. Our heroine’s speech patterns were a little odd. Her vocabulary seemed old-fashioned and overly formal. Still, the story was told from her point of view and it rolled along nicely.
I was a bit surprised at how some of the topics were handled. The plot centres on a teen suicide which is described casually but in enough detail to be very easy to visualise. Our heroine’s attitude to the ghost of the suicide? ‘Yeah, I know you want your life back but you should have thought of that before you killed yourself. Get over it and move on.’ How’s that for empathy. Still, she was a very unpleasant ghost.
Even though I’m not the target audience for this, I had fun with it. The audiobook was a pleasant way to spend five hours.